The South West Think Tank (SWETT), a group of professionals of diverse background from the six South-West States, Kogi and Kwara States, has knocked the federal government for failing to curb killings by herdsmen across the country.
The group, in a statement by its spokesman, Chief Femi Davies, said it is saddening that despite the havoc being wreaked by the rampaging Fulani herdsmen almost on a daily basis, nothing had been done to check their destructive activities by the federal government.
Since the beginning of the year, herdsmen suspected to be Fulani have killed over 100 persons across the country, with Benue State suffering the biggest loss.
The herdsmen have also destroyed several farmlands, including those of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Olu Falae, in Ondo State; and a former Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Samuel Afolayan, in Kwara State.
In the same vein, about 10 hectares of farmland belonging to Chief Bisi Rodipe was also allegedly set ablaze by these herdsmen in Ijebu, Ogun State, while about 10 people were also killed by these rampaging killer herders in Yewa North and Imeko Afon Local Government Area also in Ogun state.
According to Davies, the failure of the federal government to bring to justice the erring herdsmen leaves the rest of the country with the impression that the lives of cows are more important than those of human beings. He added that: “This government leaves us with no other option other than to believe that because they are Fulanis and their kinsman, President Muhammadu Buhari, is in power, they are untouchable.
“Apart from the human losses, famine could be looming in the country with the burning of farmlands and the refusal of farmers to plant again owing to the fear that the criminal elements operating under the guise of being herdsmen could strike at any time.
“With Chief Falae, Admiral Afolayan, and Chief Bisi Rodipe, 57 hectares of farmlands were lost.
“In Benue, Taraba and Adamawa States, several hectares of farmlands have also been destroyed.
“This can only portend famine if urgent action is not taken and the perpetrators of these heinous crimes brought to justice.”
SWETT equally said the influx of arms and ammunition into the country, part of which is being used by the herdsmen, should also be a source of concern to the government.
Davies said with the proliferation of arms and ammunition, it is becoming obvious that next year’s elections could be in danger, adding: “The security agencies in the country must do their due diligence to find out how these so-called herdsmen come about the sophisticated guns they are using.
“In the same vein, the Southwest states should exercise its right using the Land Use Act of 1978, in order to protect the farmers”.
“This should include compensation for those whose farmlands have been destroyed, with many of them having taken loans from banks.”
The group also expressed its opposition to the proposed cattle colonies across the country, saying: “Our position on this is very clear: no cattle colony will be accepted in the South West and the Yoruba speaking States of Kogi and Kwara.
“Any attempt to forcefully implement this will be forcefully resisted.
“The practice all over the world in animal rearing is ranching.
“And on that, we stand.”